XChange 2014: Lenovo Touts Strength Of Channel Partnerships


Ashley Rodrigue, brand ambassador for Lenovo, told solution providers gathered Sunday evening on the first night of XChange, that the PC giant could make possible unprecedented returns for its partners.

Lenovo has been growing in revenue and market share faster than its competitors for a long time, Rodrigue said, and for the last few years has been on top of the global PC market.

Rodrigue said 85 percent to 90 percent of North American sales accounting for that growth came through the channel.

Related: XChange 2014: SAP Ready To Work With Solution Providers, And SMEs

"We try not to go direct. We don't want to go direct. We don't have the manpower to go direct," Rodrigue said.

James Moak, president and CEO of Gulf South Technology Solutions, a $3 million Baton Rouge, La.-based solution provider, said he signed up as a Lenovo partner last September and has been impressed by the company’s products and lucrative channel program.

"Lenovo is very easy to do business with," Moak told CRN, noting that the partnership with the company started with a 300-unit tablet deal and has flourished ever since. ”They have a partner portal that is easy to navigate, and their products have been stellar."

Rodrigue enumerated some of the ingredients of building an independent channel: easy to work with, predictable, consistent, best-of-breed programs, and most important, it needs to offer partners profitability.

And when Rodrigue says profitability, she's talking double-digit margins on hardware: "unheard of, but possible with Lenovo programs," Rodrigue said.

The product line driving those sales and margins -- ThinkPad laptops to ThinkServer to Yoga tablet -- will only become stronger thanks to the pending acquisitions of Motorola's mobility business, and the IBM x86 line of servers.

For Lenovo, one part of its business model is creating a product that needs less warranty service. To achieve that, the Chinese company, which Rodrigue noted manufactures in the U.S., builds its computers tough.

As a demonstration, she showed a video of unspeakable things done to a laptop, from pouring wine to dumping a pitcher of ice water on the keypad. In the video, at least, the PC kept humming along.

"We have to fail less because our prices are so competitive, and that's part of our business model," Rodrigue told attendees. 

PUBLISHED AUG. 18, 2014